Opening up a new avenue for females, the Indian Army on Thursday kicked off the process of inducting women as jawans by starting their online registration for recruitment in the corps of military police.
This is being seen as a major breakthrough for women in armed forces as so far, they were being inducted only as officers and this is the first time they would be taken in as soldiers.
"Online registration will start today for the recruitment of women as jawans and the last date for it is June 8. The project was first mooted by Army Chief Gen Bipin Rawat soon after he took charge of the force," Army officials said.
The decks for the induction were cleared in January this year after Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman announced that the government has taken a "historic" decision to induct women in the military police with an aim to enhance their representation in the three services.
Women will be inducted in a graded manner to eventually comprise 20 per cent of total Corps of Military Police and their role would range from probing crime cases to assisting the Army in field operations wherever required.
Last year, Army Chief Gen Bipin Rawat had said the process to allow women in a combat role, currently, an exclusive domain of men was moving fast and initially, women will be recruited for positions in Military Police.
Accordingly, the Army chalked out induction of approximately 800 women in military police with a yearly intake of 52 personnel per year.
Currently, women are allowed in select areas such as medical, legal, educational, signals and engineering wings of the Army.
The role of the military police includes policing cantonments and Army establishments, preventing the breach of rules and regulations by soldiers, maintaining movement of soldiers as well as logistics during peace and war, handling prisoners of war and extending aid to civil police.
As per government data, the Army has 3.80 per cent of its workforce as women, the Air Force has 13.09 per cent and the Navy six per cent.